Pixar’s newest animated film, Zootopia, focuses on the life of a female bunny named Judy who wants to be a cop. She is discouraged by all of those around her, included her parents, to follow her dream of being a cop because “she is just a bunny.” She decides to prove everyone wrong and go to the police academy anyway to fulfill her dream of being a cop. When she first gets there she struggles with the physical training, like climbing ice walls and completing obstacle courses. This just pushes Judy to try even harder, and she trains by herself early in the morning and late at night. All of the hard work pays off because she ends up graduating the police academy at the top of her class and is assigned to work in Zootopia-a city where “anyone can be anything.”
Despite her being the top of her class, she is assigned to parking duty in Zootopia because she is just viewed as just a small and cute bunny. But then she is given the task to find a missing otter in 48 hours. With the help of a sly fox named Nick, she takes on the task, but ultimately ends up feeling defeated. She decides to quit the police force and become a carrot farmer, like everyone initially told her she should do. However, she decides to go back to the academy and she finally finds the missing otter, along with the other missing animals, thus saving the day and Zootopia.
Leaving the movie theater, I couldn’t help but think that the movie was adorable-which it was! But as I thought more about it, I realized that Pixar touched on some real issues that our society is facing.
Judy is not taken seriously as a cop. Whenever people saw her in her uniform, she was always asked, “What are you?” People did not believe that she could be a cop because of her size as a small bunny. Taking a deeper look at this movie, Judy was also the only female cop in her precinct. Pixar used Judy being a bunny as the reason why she wasn’t taken seriously when the underlying reason was that she was a female. Judy was called “too small and cute” to be a police officer. She was told that she was a “dumb bunny” on more than one occasion and was also told, “You can only be what you are,” speaking to her “nonexistent” ability to be a cop. When she complains about how the world is treating her, she is told, “If the world is going to see you one way, there’s no point in acting differently.”
Females face these pressures on a daily basis in the workforce, especially in male dominated fields. Women are seen as “too emotional” or “not good enough.” This ends up discouraging them to stick with their job, or even pursue it in the first place. But from the wise words of Nick the fox in Zootopia, women should “never let them see that it gets to you.” Women— and anyone who is looked down upon because of their gender, race, ethnicity, religion, etc. in their workplace or in life— can learn from Judy the bunny in Zootopia. Judy wants to prove everyone wrong, and she does this by doing her job ten times better than is expected of her. While it is unfortunate that she has to work harder than everyone else and isn’t even respected in her field, giving up is not an option. This message is all over the movie and it ends with a song by the famous pop star of Zootopia, Gazelle, who is voiced by Shakira. She sings, “I won’t give up. No, I won’t give in ‘til I reach the end, and then I’ll start again”